Textile Manufacturing

Textile, Leather and Wood


Whether textiles are intended as clothing or as components of furniture such as upholstery and curtaining, the production process is usually both water, energy, and chemical intensive, giving rise to a broad range of different environmental and waste issues.

From the perspective of greenhouse gases, the production of virgin textiles, in particular, gives rise to about 15kg of carbon dioxide per kilogram of textile. In modern environmental terms, this is unacceptably high.

As a result of these kinds of realities, the industry is facing ever tightening legislation regarding water discharges, air emissions, and waste generation. In South Africa, a water scarce country, there is a strong emphasis by government on the need to reduce effluent arising from the finishing of yarn or fabric created by spinners, weavers, knitters, and tanners. The finishing processes, which involve any combination of scouring, bleaching, dyeing, and printing, invariably result in high levels of contaminated water.

Government now takes the view that effluent reuse has to become as much a part of the water supply system as other sources of ground or surface water.

Gradual, affordable adaptation of production processes aimed at decreasing water and electricity consumption and the use of chemicals does underpin most producers’ long term strategies.

However, one of the major factors inhibiting the alteration of production processes is that the environmental cost is not usually incorporated into the production of virgin textiles, making them far cheaper than reused or recycled textiles.

So, high market demand for virgin textiles will continue for the foreseeable future – and producers cannot afford to slow or reduce output without losing market share.

At the same time, the increasing cost and decreasing availability of landfill sites for the disposal of solid waste from the industry, a lot of it post-sale to the public, reinforces the need for recycling and reuse as a significant feature of waste management plans.


In South Africa, some 50% of producers do recycle most of their solid waste, but lack of equipment and technology, lack of material to recycle, and lack of consumer awareness are acting as a brake on tangible improvement waste management by the industry.

That said, we know from more than three decades of helping textile producers and marketers manage their waste that there is always something more one can do to reduce waste streams as well as managing them in ways that are more beneficial to the environment.

Every system that’s been in place for a while can be optimised, creating greater efficiencies and cutting costs. And, where, feasible, the introduction of one or two new pieces of technology, or even just a fresh approach, can pay off handsomely in the relatively near term.

 We can provide you with guidance and advice that will get you to an optimal waste management situation that includes compliance with all relevant legislation.

Or, if you’d rather focus on what you do best, as a producer, you can outsource most of your waste management obligations to us. We have the premises, technology, and expertise to give you all the benefits of economies of scale. Also, we are innovators by nature. So, we not only stay abreast of global best practice, we often blaze trails ourselves in applying that best practice to the specific needs of our customers. In other words, we do the learning so you don’t have to.

If you would like to know what options are available to you, please contact our Customer Care Line on 0800 192 783 for South African enquiries and click here for the contact details for enquiries across Sub-Saharan Africa​.